Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The organizer of America First was, years later, Reagan’s ambassador to Norway

I was reading a history of the years leading up to U.S. involvement in World War II and out of curiosity looked up Robert D. Stuart Jr., the founder of America First, the isolationist organization today often remembered for its association with Charles Lindbergh. I was surprised to see that, 44 years later, Stuart became ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

I was reading a history of the years leading up to U.S. involvement in World War II and out of curiosity looked up Robert D. Stuart Jr., the founder of America First, the isolationist organization today often remembered for its association with Charles Lindbergh. I was surprised to see that, 44 years later, Stuart became President Reagan's ambassador to Norway. More evidence that F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong in asserting that there are no second acts in American lives. On the other hand, this was more like a fourth act in Stuart's long life.

I was reading a history of the years leading up to U.S. involvement in World War II and out of curiosity looked up Robert D. Stuart Jr., the founder of America First, the isolationist organization today often remembered for its association with Charles Lindbergh. I was surprised to see that, 44 years later, Stuart became President Reagan’s ambassador to Norway. More evidence that F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong in asserting that there are no second acts in American lives. On the other hand, this was more like a fourth act in Stuart’s long life.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.